Badajoz

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Badajoz (Spanish pronunciation: [baðaˈxoθ], formerly written Badajos in English) is the capital of the Spanish province of Badajoz in the autonomous community of Extremadura, situated close to the Portuguese border, on the left bank of the river Guadiana, and the MadridLisbon railway. The population in 2007 was 145,257.

Badajoz is the see of a bishopric. It occupies a slight eminence, crowned by the ruins of a Moorish castle, and overlooking the Guadiana. A strong wall and bastions, with a broad moat and outworks, and forts on the surrounding heights, give the city an appearance of great strength. The river, which flows between the castle-hill and the powerfully armed fort of San Cristobal, is crossed by a magnificent granite bridge, originally built in 1460, repaired in 1597 and rebuilt in 1833. The whole aspect of Badajoz recalls its stormy history; even the cathedral, built in 1238, resembles a fortress, with massive walls.

The association football teams in the city are Club Deportivo Badajoz and Cerro Reyes. Both teams play in the Segunda División B.

Contents

History

Owing to its position, the city enjoys a considerable transit trade with Portugal; its other industries include the manufacture of linen, woollen and leather goods, and of pottery.

It is not mentioned by any Roman historian, although Roman villas have been discovered in the area, as well as of constructions from the Visigothic age. It was founded (or founded again, if the theories it was already existing and was even the seat of a Christian bishopric) by the Muslim nobleman Ibn Marwan around 875, after he had been expelled from Mèrida. Under Ibn Marwan the city was the seat of an effectively autonomous rebel state which was quenched only in the 10th century. After 1022 it became the capital of a small Moorish kingdom, the Taifa of Badajoz; at the time Badajoz has some 25,000 inhabitants. Though temporarily held by the Portuguese in 1168, it retained its independence until 1229, when it was captured by Alfonso IX of León. It was known as Batlabus and Batalyos during Moorish rule.

As a frontier fortress it underwent many sieges. It was beleaguered by the Portuguese in 1660, and in 1705 by the Allies in the War of the Spanish Succession. During the Peninsular War Badajoz was unsuccessfully attacked by the French in 1808 and 1809; but on March 10, 1811, the Spanish commander, José Imaz, was bribed into surrendering to a French force under Marshal Soult. A British and Portuguese army, commanded by Marshal Beresford, endeavoured to retake it, and on May 16, 1811 defeated a relieving force at Albuera, but the siege was abandoned in June.

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